Welcome to the latest addition of Brew Hoop’s Extended Forecast: The Longest Road Trip of the Season Comes Early! This is going to be a season-long series, covering all 82 games and giving an extended forecast of what the schedule looks like for the Bucks. Obviously, the first and second games will be the two most easy to predict, since we have more information on injuries, trades, etc,. but in general we still should have an idea of what is coming. Hopefully this will also be more detailed now that teams have actually played, and maybe I won’t make a mistake like I did with Minnesota again...
As far as how the last forecast went, I was correct about Brooklyn. I think I saved myself by saying “you never know early in the season” at the end of my statement about the Heat, but the Bucks were also without Holiday, Lopez, DiVincenzo, Portis, and more so I’ll pass on that. And it only took adding back Holiday to beat the Spurs in San Antonio, which I guaranteed at least one victory against the Spurs. But you take away Holiday again, and that is enough to beat a Pacers’ team on the road, which usually is Milwaukee’s biggest nemesis in the division. And then...they lost to freaking Minnesota, and you can check my reaction to that if you already haven’t. The second showdown against the Spurs kind of went as expected, seeing that I stated that we rarely sweep the Spurs. The Jazz then took care of us without everybody important aside from Giannis, but even at full strength the Jazz are a great team. Overall, they were two games worse than I predicted, so no, it was not just Minnesota’s fault.
Upcoming, the Bucks schedule gets relatively challenging. They have an early five-game road trip in the Eastern Conference for the Bucks, their longest of the season, and it will be against some of the better teams. In fact, aside from Washington, all of the teams are in that “next tier” after the Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets. At least the preseason’s “next tier.” Milwaukee only has one home game in the first half of November, so we will see how much the Bucks are on cruise control and how much they are willing to try and continue to dominate. One more concern before we get into the matchups is the lengthy injury list, starting with Donte DiVincenzo out, as well as Holiday and Lopez possibly being out for multiple games during this stretch. For the purposes of this article, I will assume that DiVincenzo is out, and Holiday and Lopez will return by the end of this road trip. Let’s dive into the game-by-game details.
Jon’s 2021-22 Projected Record: 5-2
Bucks 2021-22 Actual Record: 3-4
@Detroit November 2nd
Yes, I know I said only good teams on the longest road trip of the season, but this is just a one-gamer before we prepare to head off on the real road trip. Detroit is the worst team that the Bucks will have played so far, and with Cade Cunningham still working his way back from injury, this makes it that much easier. Detroit might actually be the worst team in basketball. They still have the solid forward tandem of Jerami Grant (although he is on the injury list now too) and Saddiq Bey, but they are not even close to being enough to make Bucks’ fans have to worry about this game. Detroit does have some nice young pieces, but remember that this team drafted first overall last year for a reason, and that is because they really don’t have a lot of depth. Aside from Grant, everyone here is a castaway or a very young player.
As far as injuries go, Cunningham and Grant are questionable, and Isaiah Livers will be out. Saddiq Bey is the current leader in minutes played, rebounds and scoring, so he will be a key factor for Detroit to have any chance.
New York November 5th (home) & 10th (road)
New York is the only team we play at home during this Extended Forecast, and we also will be playing them at Madison Square Garden in the middle of the five-game trip. So far, Julius Randle has really been playing up to his standards from last season when he was an MVP candidate to the people of New York who live in fantasy lands, whereas to the rest of us, he was possibly a top-20 player. Either way, he’s been playing better, and his supporting cast has improved as well. Having Mitchell Robinson back, adding another year of maturity for players like RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, and two new starters in Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker make this team more threatening than the pretenders they were last season. Neither of these games are going to be easy, and I remember now that the Knicks beat us two out of three games last year. To their credit, I believe one game was without Giannis and one was very early in the season. Notwithstanding, the Bucks are still better and I am guaranteeing at least one of these games.
When it comes to injuries, they have been without Nerlens Noel so far, but haven’t missed him, with a 4-1 at the time of this writing. Julius Randle is the leader in scoring, rebounding and assists, so he is a very dangerous player.
@Washington November 7th
The real road trip kicks off with a visit to the nation’s capital and the White House, where Milwaukee will meet with the President to celebrate the championship. As far as on court matters go, Washington is the only team on this road trip that I don’t guarantee a postseason berth to, and I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone. Bradley Beal is one of the best scorers in the game, but without Thomas Bryant among others, the depth is not there. Quite similar to the Bucks actually. They have some intriguing pieces and very good scoring options alongside Beal, and the key to the game is Bucks are going to need to outscore this team to win. That may sound like the most obvious, Bill Walton-like statement to make, but the Wizards only really play on that side of the ball.
On the injury front, Thomas Bryant will definitely not be available. As far as the rest are concerned, Rui Hachimura, Cassius Winston, Daniel Gafford and Anthony Gill are all listed as “out until at least November 1st”. Who knows what that will mean a week later, but three of those four impact the depth up front, so no Brook Lopez might not be a huge issue for this game. The scoring leader for the Wizards is obviously Bradley Beal, but he has taken a while to heat up with only 21.5 PPG at this point.
@Philadelphia November 9th
The 76ers have been headlining the NBA news for some time, and I’m hoping this Simmons’ stuff just ends. I don’t care how, just please stop talking about a C-class “superstar” this much. He’s not that great or worth this attention, and the 76ers are probably a better team without him. Okay, I won’t say “Ben Simmons” again. Meanwhile, the rest of the 76ers are still a very good team, and remember, they finished first in the standings last season (like the Bucks did in 2019 and 2020 for those who say that doesn’t matter), and Joel Embiid is always going to be a problem for whoever he faces. Tobias Harris has become more of a star than a certain Australian, in my opinion, and the rest of the team is a lot of shooters and defenders. They are well constructed, and are going to be formidable for the Bucks.
On the injury front, who knows if a tall point guard who can’t shoot will be available. Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris are relatively close in scoring, so the leader will likely be unpredictable by the time we play them. Also, Andre Drummond, has incredibly high rebounds-per-minute, which isn’t surprising.
@Boston November 12th
Boston star Jaylen Brown is still dealing with after effects of COVID-19, so that affects their record somewhat, but regardless of how you think of the Celtics at this point, they are still filled with talent. Jayson Tatum, according to Bleacher Report, is the second best player under the age of 24 in the NBA, and he is going to be a consistent All-Star. Marcus Smart is still in Boston, and he has been a thorn in the Bucks’ side for years. They also have a solid rotation of big men, including Robert Williams III, Al Horford, Enes Kanter, Grant Williams and Juan Hernangomez, so they have plenty of options to throw at Giannis. That doesn’t mean they will stop him, but they have plenty of options to try. Oh, did anyone know Jabari Parker was still on this roster?
Injuries are a bit unpredictable right now for Boston, with Al Horford being the only notable player who might miss this game. He has been in and out of the lineup all season. Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III are also on the injury report, but that’s two weeks away almost so who knows. Like with Philadelphia, Brown and Tatum are battling closely for scoring leadership.
@Atlanta November 14th
This is the final game of the five-game road trip, and it is against the foes from the Eastern Conference Finals last year, the Atlanta Hawks. Onyeka Okongwu, who was kind of a pain at times during the ECF, will not be available. Regardless of whatever the Hawks’ record is by this point, they are a good basketball team, and as they showed last year, got better as the season went on. On top of that, I think the Bucks being on the end of the road trip makes this challenging even if this wasn’t a good team.
Aside from Okongwu, Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams have been battling injuries. Whether they are available in time for this game is up for debate, but they are both solid role players. Bogdan Bogdanovic is also on the injured list, but is listed as questionable and, as with the Celtics, it is still a ways away. Trae Young obviously leads this team in scoring and is the most important player.
I don’t like being pessimistic, but without having Brook, Jrue, Donte and possibly even Bobby “Portis Tortoise” (yep, trying to see if that sticks) during this stretch, I am seriously crossing the .500 barrier. A win over Detroit and once over New York are certainties in my opinion (thanks again for the consistent second-guessing now, Timberwolves), and I think beating Washington or Boston is a guarantee, but not both. The Hawks game can be penciled in as a loss, and the 76ers game will be very challenging, even if that tall point guard who can’t shoot plays. I’m going to go the optimistic route, as I said I don’t like being pessimistic, so I will go with 4-3 during this time. If Jrue and Brook are out the entire time or at least most of it, then they go 3-4. If they return promptly along with Portis Tortoise, then 5-2 or even 6-1 is a possibility. I’m going with 4-3 though, what do you all think? Vote in the poll and comment below.
What Do You Think the Bucks’ Record Will Be Over the Next Two Weeks?
This poll is closed
6-1 or 7-0
2-5 or worse